Pool safety for summer
STATEWIDE with Acting Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard AS the weather warms up, many of us start thinking about taking a refreshing dip in our backyard pools but we all need to be aware of potential hazards and relevant laws to keep children safe around the water all year round.
The recently released 2017 WA Ombudsman’s report, Investigation into ways to prevent or reduce deaths of children by drowning, showed that private swimming pools were the most common location of fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents in WA.
According to the report, during a six-year period, 34 children died by accidental drowning, while 258 children were admitted to hospital and 2310 children attended an emergency department.
In WA, there are specific laws that mandate the installation of fencing to enclose private swimming pools and spas. Swimming pools or spas that contain water deeper than 300mm must be secured by isolation fencing with the correct locking mechanisms on gates.
The fencing requirements are intended to protect young children by restricting their access to the pool or spa area. Most fatal drowning incidents in private swimming pools occur where there is no barrier, or there is a faulty barrier.
While owners and occupiers are both responsible for ensuring that any fence or barrier is maintained and operating effectively, in rental properties it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the barriers provided are adequate.
Educating our children about water safety is also important: teach kids safety rules around water, including that they should never swim without an adult.
Our website includes pool and product safety information. More information, including pool fencing safety advice for rental property owners and managers, is also available at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au, or by calling 1300 30 40 54 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detailed water safety guidelines are also available from the Royal Life Saving Society WA at www.royallifesavingwa.com.au.